WOW!!!! What a weekend… Well, originally the plan was to head back to AZ to see if I could stick a Coues deer but my good friends Holly and Darrell Tow called and asked if I wanted to go to the Game and Fish Commission meeting in ABQ. So I said,”Sure”. So we headed to ABQ on Friday evening. Well, we got to the hotel late and crashed…. Good thing we did because it was a LONG Saturday.
There were several issues that were going to be discussed but the ones that I was most interested in were the Antelope,Bear and Cougar proposals..
SOOO… The Dept presented it’s plans for Bear and Cougar management and to me it all seemed pretty reasonable. Basically, the populations are either increasing or stable. They want to increase hunter opportunity and use hunters to help manage the predation and animal-to-human contact.
A couple of thoughts
- They proposed a Spring Bear hunt where dogs wouldn’t be allowed. ALL GOOD!!!!
- There are a TON of Bear Loving groups out there… That is ALL GOOD, I was just a little supervised
- The Dept wants to stabilize the predator population so they are increasing the total harvest but they are encouraging the taking of males. If you know anything about predator biology the males are the ones that keep the numbers of predators in check. The biggest predator to a Lion is a male Lion… Those are just the facts, so by taking more males the populations may acutally increase. In all of the meetings NOBODY is saying that…. It is ALL PR!!!
- Some groups have proposed that they relocate bears that end up in ABQ. Ok… So where do we put them? In areas, that already have a bears in them? I read a study that 80% of bears that are relocated die because they are killed by “local” bears or die on the highways trying to get back to there home range..
- Overall, I think it is a good plan given the data set that we have. On a personal note, I have picked up more bears on my trail cams that ever before… Something is happening…
NOW THE GOAT ISSUE…
This was the topic that everybody was waiting to hear… The plan is that the Dept was going to present the Commission with several options… 1 -3…. Well It started out as 1-3 then at the last moment the Dept tacked on 3A, 3B, 3C and I think 3D. Why??? Not sure but it sure confused the issue and IMO it did nothing but confuse the issue and it looked like someone was trying to water down the sportsman vote. Anyway, the views were presented. So public comment was opened(kind of), it looked like the ranchers/LO/Guides and all those making money off the tags were split between option 1 and 2. Or a system like E-plus but still 50% of tags going to NR or No Change… Sportsman were pretty much behind Option 3. WITH ONE BIG EXCEPTION!!! Sportsman for Wildlife or SFW really sold us out… They were clearly on the side of the RANCHERS and supported Option #1. As a personal observation, If you looked at the room and saw who talked to who and the entire dynamics it was pretty obvious that SFW isn’t going to support sportsman on this issue. Oh well, it is what it is but until they fight for us on this issue I will not support or endorse them.
A couple of thoughts
- I tried to engage Rep. Ezell in a conversation and she was extremely rude and condescending…. Not only was I disappointed by her stance on the issue but she was just OUT OF CONTROL… She walked around like she owned the place, and barged her way into the “comments” period. By the end of the meeting people were referring to her as the “devil”. I wonder how much money she gets for her tags, I had heard rumor that she gets a proportionately higher number of tags for her ranches… I wish someone would look into that. AGAIN I can’t substantiate ANY OF THAT BUT…..
- We are in for a long fight…. I just don’t know how they are going to vote….
SO… It was great to be part of the process, sportsman are in for a long, hard fight… We just need to make this right….
I just heard that the Dept is going to push the decision date back … NICE!!!! I guess they are getting a ton of heat. I wonder if this commission will vote before they get replaced by the new Governor.